One early morning I received a phone call. It was my friend Obinna and he was frantic:

My website has been hacked!

To check out his claims I went directly to his website and searched his website and sure enough, I saw the red screen of death from Google explaining the website was indeed hacked. Obinna is the founder of Cakewalks Films, an award-winning film studio. I watched Obinna’s skill and audience grow over time and currently he is one of the top videographers in Houston. This meant he receives many visitors to his website on a daily basis and having an inactive website could cripple his business.

Solving the Problem

Knowing this, I went into detective mode and I began asking questions to find out what exactly went wrong. I pride myself on solving the problem and not just the symptoms, also, this was the second time Obinna’s website has been hacked in this manner so I wanted to solve the problem once and for all.

After assessing the issue, I found his WordPress website was infected with malware and the hacker changed some of the files on his website.

I found there were 4 things which needed to be dealt with:

  • Removing the hack status on Google
  • Removing the malicious code on the website
  • Preventing future hacks in the future
  • Limited access to support from the WordPress theme provider

I laid out a plan to fix the issue for Obinna. The solution and the plan involved the following:

  • Log into his web host
  • Delete all the files which contained infected code
  • Replace all the WordPress core files to ensure they are accurate
  • Change all his passwords
  • Submit to Google that the website was clean to remove the hacked notification
  • Transition Obinna to a new web host and service (Squarespace).
  • Change the domain name and email to point at the new web host
  • Assist in formatting the website.

All of the following I mentioned above took about 2 days, however, the issue was completely fixed. Obinna immediately recognized the level or value I provided, if I wasn’t able to swiftly fix the issue then he would have had to wait maybe a week or more to hear from his web host. I remember him saying “Nathan, thank you so much for fixing this issue, can I pay you does $300 sound okay?”

I already told Obinna I didn’t that he didn’t have to pay me anything and I would do it for free, however, he was blown away by how quickly I fixed the problem The fact he wanted to pay me intrigued me. I then asked him, how did you come up with the number $300? where did that come from?

Obinna came up with the number of $300 because he felt it was a decent number and he knew it didn’t take me too long. To him to make $300 in a day was pretty good. I began to ask him questions about his business to uncover the value of what I did. On average Obinna receives multiple inquiries in a day. There is no way he can take on every inquiry as a client but we can observe he needs a certain amount of inquiries to make income. The more inquiries he has the higher the potential to take on more clients and increase his income. Obinna said on average every 5 inquiries he takes on 1 client, a 20% booking rate.

Uncovering Value

Let’s say Obinna gets 1 inquiry a day through his website. In a month, this would mean 30 inquiries go through his website. Since we know the booking rate is at 20% then we know in a month he may have 6 bookings. If we look at his pricing we can assume the average booking about $3,000. Let’s do some simple math: 6 bookings / month x $3,000 average = $18,000 / month. There are 30 days in a month so with more simple math we can uncover $18,000 / 30 days = $600 / day.

We made some assumptions here but because his website is the only way for his business to get inquiries we can say having an active website for Obinna’s business is worth $600 a day. Every day his website is inactive he is losing $600 not to mention having a hacked website is bad for brand perception.

I then asked Obinna: “If you website was inactive for more than 2 days how much would you have been willing to pay?” He quickly answered $1,000. After this conversation we both realized something:

you cannot allow others to dictate the value you provide.

Obinna was not trying to short change me, he simply did not know how much it costs for the knowledge and expertise I provided. It is up to me as the professional to inform them of how much value I am provided. Asking the right questions helped both of us find out what the value truly of my service truly was.

The main takeaway from this story is:

If people have the opportunity to pay you less they will. You must set the standard of value.

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